Boeing’s 737 MAX will resume flying for Air Canada at the beginning of February. This follows Transport Canada clearing the way for the 737 MAX to fly within Canada. In addition, the Montreal-based airline is satisfied by its own independent assessments of the 737 MAX and its operating procedures.
“We are very confident the nearly two-year regulatory process undertaken by Transport Canada and other regulators worldwide ensures the utmost safety of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet,” said Murray Strom, Vice President of Flight Operations at Air Canada.
Beginning February 1, Air Canada’s 737 MAX will operate selected flights between Toronto and Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Air Canada’s 737 MAXs modified and ready to take to the air
Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet and a further 12 on order. Canada banned both the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 from its airspace in March 2019. That followed the Lion Air 737 MAX crash in Indonesia and the later Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash outside Addis Ababa.
Twenty-two months later, Transport Canada issued an Airworthiness Directive for the Boeing 737 MAX. That directive outlined four required modifications before a 737 MAX returns to service in Canadian airspace. Those modifications include;
- Installation of a new version of software for the Flight Control Computer to address the issues related to the Maneuvering Augmentation Characteristics System (MCAS);
- A revision to the MAX Display System (MDS) software to ensure that the AOA DISAGREE alert is available on aircraft as a standard configuration;
- The addition of colored caps on circuit breakers for the stick shaker, to allow for ease of identification during the use of an optional procedure included in the Canadian Aircraft Flight Manual Supplement permitting the disabling of a nuisance stick shaker; and
- Modifications to the wire routing changes for the horizontal stabilizer trim system in order to improve the physical separation of the wiring.
“Shortly after the accidents, Air Canada as well as the other airlines in Canada and Transport Canada, came together in a working group for a made in Canada solution,” said Mr Strom.
The working group explored three issues; how the 737 MAX was certified in the first place? What is the MCAS system about? And how did the two crashes occur?
Air Canada has total confidence in the 737 MAX
Canada’s national airline says it has confidence in the 737 MAX. Air Canada says they’ve gone over the aircraft and its systems with a fine-tooth comb. That’s not just systems associated with the MAX but all of the systems associated with the wider 737 program.
“We have great confidence in this program going forward. To return these planes to service, we are doing more than any other airline in the world.
“Our pilots are doing over 40 hours of computer-based training. They are in simulator sessions for six sessions, or 24 hours.
“They are doing training flights in the actual airplane without passengers on board from four to six legs before they are finally checked out on the aircraft.”
Air Canada says it has exceeded required regulatory standards by equipping its fleet with additional safety-enhancing features. That includes a new system called Heads Up Display (HUD) which enhances flight safety and pilot awareness. Air Canada says it is the only airline in the world with a dual HUD, giving the Captain and First Officer access.
“It is probably the biggest safety enhancement in the last 20 years in aviation and greatly enhances the pilot’s ability and situational awareness to handle the aircraft,” said Mr Strom.
Air Canada acknowledges some passengers might feel uneasy about boarding a 737 MAX. But the airline wants to reassure everyone the aircraft is safe. Murray Strom says Air Canada looks forward to welcoming people on board the MAX from February 1.
How many passengers are willing to accept Air Canada’s reassurances remains to be seen. Would you be happy to take an Air Canada 737 MAX next month? Post a comment and let us know.